Simone Charley’s first half stoppage time goal gave Portland Thorns FC a 1-0 win against Kansas City NWSL. The win puts Portland at 5-0-2 (W-D-L) on the year.
The Thorns immediately took control of the match and forced Kansas City into their own half. Within a minute of the start of the match, Portland circulated possession out to right back Christen Westphal. She lofted a diagonal ball into the area and Lindsey Horan threw herself at it, knocking it just wide,
Portland continued to test the Kansas City defense. In the seventh minute, Meghan Klingenberg swung a cross to Simone Charley, who headed the ball into the arms of goalkeeper Abby Smith.
Charley terrorized the Kansas City back line throughout the first half. She slalomed through the center and Christine Sinclair waited for the square ball that would have resulted in a tap in. Charley took the shot herself, but it was deflected.
Sinclair got her chance to open the scoring after Crystal Dunn drew a penalty kick from an Elizabeth Ball handball. But Sinclair stepped to the spot and A. Smith got down quickly to save the shot.
The Thorns dominated throughout the half, but the chance creation slowed until the 41st minute. Dunn slid a defense-splitting pass to Charley. Charley was one-on-one with A. Smith and was denied again.
Dunn and Charley combined to break the deadlock deep in first half stoppage time. Horan found Dunn in the Thorns’ own half. She quickly identified the run of Charley and played it over the top. Charley took a touch around the on-rushing A. Smith and side-footed the ball into an empty net.
The @Cdunn19 to @SimoneCharley connection is MAGIC. #BAONPDX pic.twitter.com/FBEC8gwg6d— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) June 20, 2021
Sophia Smith and Celeste Boureille came on for Charley and Horan in the second half. The two nearly combined for a goal in the first minute of the half. Sinclair played through S. Smith a minute later and her shot was saved.
Sinclair forced A. Smith into a diving save in the 52nd minute. The Thorns still maintained the majority of the possession, but Kansas City were able to more consistently play out of pressure and had some spells of possession of their own.
Kansas City almost found an equalizer out of nothing. Katie Bowen hit a cross toward goal and it hit the cross bar. It deflected back into play, but Adrianna Franch was first to it.
The visitors created more in the second half than they did in the first half, but they were limited to half-chances and set pieces. Substitutes S. Smith and Morgan Weaver ran at the back line and came close to doubling the Thorns’ lead multiple times.
Kansas City had their best chance of the match thanks to a Sinclair giveaway in the Thorns’ defensive third. Bowen was able to play Amy Rodriguez into the box and she shot quickly. Franch kicked out and redirected the shot away from goal. She also had to tip a dangerous long range effort over the bar in added time. The game would end 1-0 in Portland’s favor.
The Thorns are back in action on Saturday, June 26. Portland will travel to Cary, NC to take on the Courage with kick-off slated for 4 p.m. PST.